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Knit by steel

Swastik Pal | Updated on February 23, 2018 Published on February 23, 2018

Historical link: The Howrah bridge replaced a pontoon bridge that connected Kolkata and Howrah in the colonial era

Among icons: The Rabindra Setu is one of the four bridges on the Hooghly river

Wear-and-tear: The bridge has been damaged over time due to overloaded trucks carrying over 25 tonnes of cargo, and pedestrians spitting paan and gutka

Marvel of the east: The bridge was an engineering feat for India, made with 26,500 tonnes of alloy steel, of which 23,000 tonnes were supplied by the Tatas

Connecting people: The Howrah bridge is easily the busiest cantilever structure in the world, built without nuts and bolts, and solely with rivets

City icon: The Howrah bridge was renamed Rabindra Setu on June 14, 1965, after the poet-laureate Rabindranath Tagore

On the 75th anniversary of the Howrah Bridge, a look at the iconic structure’s relevance in Kolkata’s everyday life

There are, perhaps, not many new perspectives of the iconic Howrah Bridge in Kolkata left to be photographed. The city celebrated the bridge’s 75th anniversary on February 3. Feared to be the target of Japanese bombers during World War II, this majestic structure has had an almost unhindered run till date. Meant primarily to connect the twin cities of Howrah and Kolkata, it has over time become a link that connects several aspects of its life, just like the river over which it is built.

The bridge is characterised by the endless streams of people who cross it on foot, making it the busiest cantilever bridge in the world. The presence of the Howrah railway station on the other end of the bridge underscores the allegorical journey towards a better future, the constant human quest to move ahead despite adversities. Spanning the mighty Ganges, the Howrah bridge has been witness to the many struggles and joys in the life of the city and its people. Its span forms the backdrop to an everyday, but moving sight: multitudes of the homeless sheltering on the ghats of the river, with nothing but the open skies above them.

In the pre-skyscraper days, one could quite often catch a glimpse the bridge from almost any part of the city, especially the northern side. Today, rising skyscrapers have made that a rare sight. However, every now and then, the bridge unexpectedly looms into view, spilling into a dark room like a beam of light — a recurring motif of Kolkata’s skyline.

Swastik Pal is a Kolkata-based documentary photographer

Marvel of the east: The bridge was an engineering feat for India, made with 26,500 tonnes of alloy steel, of which 23,000 tonnes were supplied by the Tatas

Wear-and-tear: The bridge has been damaged over time due to overloaded trucks carrying over 25 tonnes of cargo, and pedestrians spitting paan and gutka

 

City icon: The Howrah bridge was renamed Rabindra Setu on June 14, 1965, after the poet-laureate Rabindranath Tagore

 

 

Among icons: The Rabindra Setu is one of the four bridges on the Hooghly river

 

Connecting people: The Howrah bridge is easily the busiest cantilever structure in the world, built without nuts and bolts, and solely with rivets

 

Published on February 23, 2018
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